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DECC consultation on Home Area Network Installations

6 May 2014


Citizens Advice has a particular interest in this programme having taken on the statutory duty to protect and promote the needs of energy consumers formerly held by Consumer Futures.

We are particularly keen that consumers benefit from smart meters, but fear that any benefit from energy saving behaviour may be wiped out by rising installation costs as these are effectively uncapped. In terms of this particular consultation, we do not think the Government proposal is the most cost-effective option for delivery of smart metering services to multiple dwelling units (MDU).

The Government proposes that energy suppliers should be required to take all reasonable steps to establish a SMETS compliant HAN in all consumer premises. We agree that all consumers should have the option of a SMETS compliant HAN to ensure they can access the benefits of smart devices. We disagree with the Government’s approach. We are concerned about the costs of a supplier-led approach to works in common areas of MDUs, and the weakness of the requirement for ‘all reasonable steps’ to be taken. This would immediately lead to protracted negotiations on what is ‘reasonable’.

We have additional concerns about the hassle for property owners, space constraints and health monitoring that would occur under the Government approach, and the missed opportunity to engage property-owners and residents.